Reporting Dan Mathews
On Friday afternoon, the Falcons announced that wide receiver Roddy White would miss his first game since coming into the NFL with ankle and hamstring issues. White had a consecutive games streak off 133 that will be snapped on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside the Georgia Dome.
Coming into Friday, Mike Smith and the team had been staying optimistic about the chance of Roddy possibly playing, after leaving the Monday Night game against the Jets with a hamstring injury.
“I would never put anything past Roddy in terms of his ability to recover,” Smith said last Wednesday after practice.
This is the second injury of the season to the Falcons Pro Bowl wide receiver, after picking up a high ankle sprain against the Saints in week one. Even with that being the case, White had been on the field for the other four games up to this point of the season. Now, quarterback Matt Ryan and the rest of the offense will have to play Sunday without another key member on the field. The team already had to deal with the news of wide receiver Julio Jones being out for the rest of the season with a foot injury. This means the Falcons will have to turn to guys like wide receiver Harry Douglas and tight end Tony Gonzalez to pick up the slack for the offense without these key players in the lineup.
“I’ve been playing football for a long time,” Douglas said. “I don’t need to go out there and try to be Superman, or be this or be that. I just need to play the game of football.”
So far this season, Douglas has 16 catches for 219 yards.
As for Tony Gonzalez, he’s just looking forward to doing what he can to help this team win. However this week Tampa Bay’s defense could try to zero in on the All-Pro tight end.
“If they did have a plan for me, then I know that these other guys will step up and make plays,” Gonzalez said. “I trust that, I trust my teammates.”
In addition to Roddy White missing Sunday’s game, the Falcons will also be without running back Steven Jackson for the fifth full week with a hamstring injury, which cost him to leave their game against the Rams back in week two. Falcons head coach Mike Smith says there’s no real time table for his return at this time.
“It’s a hamstring that has been tough to come back from at this point in time,” Smith said after Thursday’s practice.
The Falcons will also be without left tackle Sam Baker and reserve tight end Chase Coffman on Sunday. Both players’ injuries didn’t allow them to practice all week in Flowery Branch.